Wednesday, March 27

Memoria Press - First Form Latin {Review}

As we enter the high school years, foreign language is something that we're looking into.  Our son is very interested in ancient history and has been stuck on learning Latin for a while now.  Neither my husband nor I know anything about Latin, so we kicked the can as long as possible....but when we had the opportunity to review this complete First Form Latin complete set from Memoria Press -- including Teacher Guides and DVDs -- we jumped at the chance.  After all, this looks like private instruction in your home....

The program components include:
  • Student book - There are thirty-four short, two-page lessons plus two appendices.
  • Student workbook - With lots of drill, my son thought there was too much writing involved here.  However, practice and repetition make for remembering.
  • CD - This has drill to help you learn the pronunciation and practice.  We used it in the car.
  • Flashcards - These include vocabulary, grammar, and the saying for each lesson.  They are good for in the car or quiz practice.
  • DVD - Another way to cover the lesson material, this is very fast paced, but is engaging.  This complements the student book.
  • Teacher manual - This includes the same text as student book, but with additional teacher text and guide, and is very helpful for those without any Latin background.
  • Answer key - The two-color format of this book makes it easy to find the answers quickly.

Honestly, it was all a bit overwhelming at first.  But after going through the various pieces of this set, we came up with the following schedule, and it ended up working really well without being overwhelming.
  • Monday – Read through the lesson and listen to the CD pronunciation
  • Tuesday – Watch DVD lesson and complete workbook pages 1 & 2
  • Wednesday – Listen to CD, complete workbook pages 3 & 4
  • Thursday – Finish workbook, use flashcards to study for quiz, listen to CD
  • Friday – Quiz / Test – review answers together

The DVD follows along with the student book, but also includes some additional tidbits on ancient Roman and Biblical history, which my son really enjoyed. The teacher covers the drill practice, introduces new concepts, helps with pronunciation, and puts the phrase in a context that is a little easier to comprehend. Watching the DVD is like being in the front row of a Latin classroom. One caveat, however - my son found the background image on the DVD lessons to be distracting. 

If your child hasn’t had any Latin instruction, I’d definitely recommend starting with Prima Latina or Latina Christiana. Even with a full year of Latin (from a different curriculum) under his belt, my son struggled with some of this course. The vocabulary and grammar concepts are introduced quite quickly, and it can be difficult to follow at times. We ended up slowing down the process – spending more time than I had originally intended – because of this.

Using all of the program components together is beneficial because it teaches to all modalities – visual, audio, and kinesthetic (writing those drills repeatedly) – which helps to reinforce the material being learned.

As a teacher with no Latin background, I appreciated the way the teacher materials were laid out. Having a copy of the student pages alongside the objectives and guide in the teacher manual makes it easier to help students with any questions. There are teaching tips included as well. In the appendix, you’ll find various prayers, Latin sayings, lists of oral drills, and the vocabulary list.
Once we got into a groove, it was easy to pull out and work for about a half hour each day on Latin. Some days are easier than others, and some lessons were easier than others. I attribute this partly to switching from one curriculum to another; there were some holes to fill that had probably been covered in Prima Latina (and weren’t in our other program).

I appreciated the little extras sprinkled throughout the text. For example, since he likes to draw, he would often copy maps and pictures and label them with Latin vocabulary. This isn’t part of the actual curriculum, but makes a nice additional component for children who are very visual! 
Further back in the course, there are translations and sections for Honors enrichment.  We didn't make it back to that section of the course during the time provided for the review, but we wanted you to see how the material progresses.

This class does fulfill the requirement for a full year of high school foreign language. It will also provide a stronger etymology base for those students looking to score higher on the SAT / ACT. It’s easy to teach, even if you have no Latin background, and the lessons are laid out in nicely-sized chunks. If your student gets really into Latin, they also have Second, Third, and Fourth Form Latin, for a natural progression of four years’ worth foreign language instruction!

See what others are saying about Memoria Press products at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!
Crew DisclaimerPhonics, Poetry & Latin {Memoria Press Reviews}


  1. This sounds like a good program. Something we might look into as our son gets older. Our teen just finished up his language requirements with French so he is done with foreign language. I like how you laid out your weekly schedule.

    1. I actually have to give credit to Memoria for making the suggested weekly plan. :) They do an amazing job!


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